Tuesday 15 October 2019

Just one in five Fianna Fáil candidates for local elections is a woman

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Analysis: Adrian Kavanagh has been monitoring party selection events
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Just one in five local election candidates selected by Fianna Fáil so far is a woman.

With three months to go before voters cast their ballot papers, the party trails its rivals in efforts to get female candidates on the ticket for the election.

Fianna Fáil has also yet to select any woman candidate to run in the European elections. Former minister Barry Andrews in Dublin is the only candidate named so far.

Maynooth University academic Dr Adrian Kavanagh has been monitoring local election selection conventions, and his latest analysis put the percentage of female candidates selected by Fianna Fáil at 19.3pc.

Fine Gael stands at 26.7pc, still below the 30pc target set by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

There are no gender quota rules for local elections, but Mr Kavanagh's research shows that most smaller parties are exceeding the 30pc minimum that applies to general elections. The Social Democrats, at 57.7pc, currently have the highest percentage of women candidates. The Labour Party is at 45.3pc and Sinn Féin is at 37.1pc. At present, there are 333 women candidates.

Mr Kavanagh said both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael had so far increased their percentage of women candidates from what they had in the 2014 local election. He suggested that one difficulty both face is a greater number of incumbent male candidates.

He said the selection process was not over and more women candidates would likely be added in the coming weeks.

A Fianna Fáil spokesperson said the party currently had 20.2pc female candidates for the local elections.

She argued that comparisons between the parties, which are in different stages of the selection process, are "misleading and inappropriate".

She added that the party was confident it would compare favourably to other parties when the process was completed.

Irish Independent

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